Twenty-two year NHL veteran and Hall of Famer Ron Francis was officially named the General Manager of Seattle’s NHL team this morning.
Francis, 56, was drafted by the Hartford Whalers 4th overall in the 1981 Entry Draft. He spent 10 seasons with the club and serving as the captain for 6 of them. He went on to play 8 seasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins and was a part of the back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
After playing 6 more years with the Carolina Hurricanes after the Hartford relocation and 1 year with the Maple Leafs, Francis retired with a Selke, King Clancy, and three Lady Byng Trophies. Francis also ended his playing career 2nd in all time assists behind Wayne Gretzky.
Francis was named General Manager of the Hurricanes from 2014 to 2018.
“Announcing Ron Francis as our team’s first general manager is a dream come true,” said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke. “He is truly hockey royalty and is the perfect fit for the team we are building. He has a proven track record in hockey management, a dedication to the community and an eagerness to innovate which fits our vision. In our search, we looked for someone who is smart, experienced, well-prepared and progressive. I am confident that he will maintain our commitment to excellence and ultimately guide us to a Stanley Cup.”
“I am excited to join NHL Seattle as its first general manager and to work in partnership with Tod, David Bonderman, our ownership group and the NHL Seattle team to continue to build a world-class organization and hockey operation,” said Francis. “12 seasons working in player development, coaching, scouting, and management have led me to this moment and this role. I’m excited to bring that experience to Seattle as we build something truly special and historic.”
“The fans in Seattle are ready for hockey. We have more than 32,000 season ticket deposit holders and an additional 25,000 on our waiting list,” added Leiweke. “This is our first big hockey appointment. We are thrilled to have made this hire more than two years from dropping the puck.”
You can view Francis’s full introductory press conference below: